By The Associated Press
VANCOUVER – Former Vancouver Olympics CEO John Furlong raised his voice and thumped his fist during testimony as he defended himself at a British Columbia Supreme Court defamation trial on Tuesday.
During fiery cross-examination, Furlong accused lawyer Bryan Baynham – who is representing freelance journalist Laura Robinson – of sullying his deceased wife’s reputation.
Robinson is suing Furlong for comments he made after she wrote an article that included affidavits from eight former First Nations students alleging he physically and verbally abused them at a Roman Catholic school in northern British Columbia about 45 years ago.
Baynham suggested Furlong lied when he testified that Deborah Furlong drove around on the morning the story was published in September 2012 and grabbed as many Georgia Straight newspapers as she could.
“How dare you sully her reputation and her life like that? I gave you exactly what she did,” Furlong said. “She was totally distraught.”
Furlong has testified that the allegations contained in the article are “absolutely not true.” He said the stress forced him and his wife to flee to Ireland, where she died in a car crash in 2013.
At a news conference the day the article was published, Furlong accused Robinson of a “shocking lack of diligence” and “inaccurate reporting.”
Baynham read emails in court that showed Furlong retained a lawyer, Marvin Storrow, in April 2012 to handle Robinson’s requests. Through Storrow, he declined an interview and refused to answer specific questions.
The former Olympics boss testified he sent Robinson an emailed statement denying the allegations, and it was her responsibility to ensure the accusers were telling the truth before publishing.